French Quarter Fest 2016 Begins Today, Opening Day Highlights
NEW ORLEANS – The French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron, the largest free showcase of Louisiana food and music in the world, begins today, Thursday, April 7, 2016, with 'Locals' Lagniappe Day,' and runs through Sunday, April 10, 2016.
Opening day highlights include the 10:00 a.m. kickoff parade and musical performances by John Boutte, Ellis Marsalis, Deacon John, Kermit Ruffins, Cowboy Mouth, Cha Wa, Sonny Landreth, and more than a dozen others.
The sold-out opening night gala takes place tonight at Antoine's Restaurant from 8:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Honorary Co-Chairs and special guests include: Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, Mike Illanne, Vice President of Chevron North America, Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, Angela Hill, Eric Paulsen, Carl LeBlanc, Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Cowboy Mouth, Jean Knight, Big Sam, and Robin Barnes.
According to an analysis of the French Quarter Festival Visitors Survey conducted by The University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center, in 2014 French Quarter Festival generated a total economic impact of more than $251.4 million, including $122.8 million in direct spending and $128.6 million in secondary spending. Additionally, the event generated over $18.6 million in state and local tax revenue.
• FQF employs more than 1,500 local musicians during Festival weekend
• FQF hosts over 60 local restaurants which make up the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch” at the Festival.
• FQF employs only local companies during the Festival (sanitation, stages, sound, security, etc.). All money spent to produce the festival stays within the local economy.
French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron is produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., (FQFI) the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which also produces Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron in August and Christmas New Orleans Style in December. FQFI's mission is to promote the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans through high quality special events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage, contribute to the economic well-being of the community and instill increased pride in the people of New Orleans.
This year French Quarter Festival celebrates its 33rd Anniversary, Christmas New Orleans Style celebrates its 32nd anniversary and Satchmo SummerFest celebrates its 16th anniversary.
• French Quarter Festival was first produced in 1984 as a way to bring residents back to the Quarter; following the World’s Fair and extensive sidewalk repairs in the French Quarter.
• More than 2,000 community volunteers help to make the festival a success.
• French Quarter Festival is the largest, free music festival in the South.
• Chief sources of funding are: sponsorships, beverage and merchandise sales, vendor fees, and annual Gala.
• 23 stages throughout the French Quarter celebrate local music and represent every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret, and international.
• New Orleans great restaurants, create the food and beverage offerings know as “The World’s Largest Jazz Brunch” in Jackson Square, the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint and Woldenberg Riverfront Park during festival weekend; Satchmo SummerFest hosts New Orleans restaurants, known as “Red Bean Alley,” with Louis Armstrong-inspired dishes and great local cuisine. Louisiana restaurants are invited to participate in these festivals.
• French Quarter Festival has been consistently voted “favorite festival,” “favorite food festival,” and “favorite event open to the public” by locals.